Water Quality Data

Big Spring has two data testing sites in conjunction with the Texas Stream Team. The sites are #80939 Big Spring Source at the contact horizon where the water first surfaces and #80965 Big Spring Crawfish Pond some 70 feet west from the source. Data is available for viewing and downloading in .txt and .csv format at the following links:

Big Spring Source:


Big Spring Pond:


The Texas Stream Team is a network or trained volunteers (Citizen Scientists) who gather information about the quality of Texas water resources and ensure that information is available to the public. Volunteers are trained to collect quality assured information that can be used to make environmentally sound decisions on a variety of issues. Currently hundreds of Texas Stream Team volunteers collect water quality data on rivers, streams, aquifers, wetlands, bays, bayous, and estuaries across Texas, including the Trinity River.

Trained Volunteers from the Texas Stream Team have been monitoring the quality of the Trinity River and water in tributary streams of the White Rock Creek watershed in Dallas since January 2005. Monthly monitoring at Big Spring began in June 2013 with a protocol of chemistry and E.coli testing.

The Texas Stream Team is based at Texas State University and is affiliated directly with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. The Stream Team is a partnership of agencies and trained volunteers working together to monitor water quality and educate Texans about the natural resources in the state. Established in 1991, the team is administered through a cooperative partnership with Texas State, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), City of Dallas and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Methods and Procedures

Protocols and quality control start with established procedures outlined in the Texas Stream Team Water Quality Monitoring Manual.

Each month assigned members monitor and report pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and other indicators of water quality to Texas State University and is distributed to project partners.

2013-2023 At A Glance

Data collection from 2013-2023 by Master Naturalist Richard Grayson, Texas State University Student Alexander Neal, Master Naturalist Carrie Robinson and Master Naturalist Ben Sandifer. Big Spring’s water team includes many faces. A thanks to all for their hard and often unrewarded work in this arena.

-Texas Stream Team has been monitoring monthly since June 2013

-Test sessions at two sites numbered 80939 and 80965. Data available online at Texas Stream Team website

-Monthly chemistry testing including E.coli protocols

-Average time in the field plus labwork is 3 hours per person, per month. It is a labor intensive and time intensive activity.

Water temperatures at Big Spring vary little at Station 80939 and 80965. These measurements are taken directly from the spring water itself. Ambient air temperatures during testing have varied from 102 degrees in August to 23 degrees in February.

Station 80939(Big Spring Source) which is the direct water source from the ground at Big Spring reflects a temperature similar to that of the average annual temperature in Dallas, Texas of 66.9 degrees. Big Spring averages 65 degrees year round. This water features high conductivity, low dissolved oxygen and a near steady 6.7 pH. This information suggests a high residency time of the water in the ground.

Station 80965(Big Spring Crawfish Pond) which is 70 feet from the source is exposed to the atmosphere and is a water column that passes through a wide array of aquatic plants and life before being tested. Residency time of the water in the pond is rather short as it moves through the outfall. Water exposed during the extremes of atmospheric temperatures can be impacted to some extent.

E.coli Testing At Big Spring

Coliscan Easygel is a method used to test for E.coli and general coliform bacteria. Easygel comes in a sterilized, two-piece unit, including a bottle of liquid medium and a petri dish treated with a special formulation. With this method, a 1 mL to 5 mL of sample of water is collected using a sterile pipette and introduced into a 10 mL bottle of sterile liquid medium. The prepared medium is then plated on a treated petri dish, and incubated at a temperature of 33 C for 28 hours.These tests are conducted on the east side of White Rock Lake in a laboratory space provided by For The Love of The Lake.

Commercially available incubators, such as the Hovabator, are recommended. Incubator temperature is maintained and verified with the armored thermometer used in the Texas Stream Team Core kit. Upon incubation, the general coliforms and E.coli produce enzymes that react with color reagents in the media to produce pink to red colonies (general coliforms) or dark blue colonies (E.coli). Two samples from each monitoring site are analyzed, and a mean value is reported.
ecoli 80939